Almain, Jacques

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Theologian whose works influenced Gallican theories; b. Sens, c. 1480; d. Paris, 1515. At first he taught dialectics and natural philosophy at the University of Paris, but then entered the College of Navarre in 1508 to pursue theology, and three years later received his doctorate. In 1512 he was commissioned to teach theology at the college, a task he continued until his death, expounding, as was the custom of the day, the Books of Sentences. Almain's rise to prominence was occasioned by Cajetan's treatise De comparatione auctoritatis papae et concilii, in which the eminent Thomist personally defended the authority of the pope at the PseudoCouncil of Pisa against the advocates of the conciliar theory. (see conciliarism.) Almain was assigned the task of censuring Cajetan's position. His work, De auctoritate ecclesiae et conciliorum generalium adversus Thomam de Vio, appeared in 1512. Among other doctrinal points, he maintained that the authority of a general council is superior to that of the pope. Invoking Matthew 18.17, he argued that the bishops gathered in a general council have divine power to judge all the faithful including the pope, because the latter is a member of the Church; that they have the right to impose their will upon him and even to depose him if need be; that the pope is superior to bishops taken individually, but inferior to them gathered in a council. Besides several purely philosophical works, seven of Almain's theological treatises, of unequal value and interest, are extant.

Bibliography: v. oblet, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350) 1:895897.

[g. m. grabka]